What is Ask The Sommelier?

Ask The Sommelier is Artisan Wine Depot's own free Wine and Food help resource. Have you ever wanted to ask a certified Sommelier a question about Wine? Here is your chance to submit your questions, and get them answered by Christine Tran, a certified sommelier and the face behind Artisan Wine Depot.

Need to know which wine will pair best with the exquisite dinner you will be cooking? Or maybe you were invited to someone else's dinner, and would like to show up with a gift wine that will impress all? This is where you can ask a true expert on the subject.

Who is Christine Tran?

Christine is a certified sommelier who has studied under the much-honored Master Sommelier Larry Stone. Prior to starting Artisan Wine Depot, Christine opened up Castro Point Restaurant in Mountain View, California.

Her professional experience includes management, corporate wine buying, and strategic development of beverage programs. She has worked for both retail and restaurant establishments such as the Straits Restaurant Group and The Wine Club retail chain. In addition, Christine consults for import companies and boutique wineries and has been instrumental in helping wineries introduce new wines into the marketplace. She has been the resident wine and food pairing expert for the Asian TV cooking show "Khai's Kitchen". Christine conducts wine and food classes and seminars for both professionals and consumers.

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som · me · lier

Pronunciation [suhm-uhl-yey; Fr. saw-muh-lyey]

[F, fr. MF, court official charged with receiving and storing wine, and later overseeing placesettings and desserts](1829) : a manager in a restaurant who has charge of wines and their service : a wine steward

Welcome to Ask The Sommelier, a place where you can exactly just that! Simply fill out the form below, and the sommelier will reply to your email address with the answer!

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Is it acceptable to use a burgundy glass for a syrah?




Great question. Selecting correct wine stemware, like selecting the correct wine for a meal, is a matter of preference. Although glass manufacturer Riedel would disagree with me, I personally like to use a burgundy glass when serving Syrah wines. The reason is that the burgundy glass has a wider bowl, which allows for better aeration of the bolder flavors in Syrah.

The typical Syrah glassware is more similar to a Bordeaux glass, with a slightly smaller opening at the top of the glass. The smaller opening at the top of the glass helps to focus the more delicate flavors and nuance of a wine. Since Syrah wines tends to be more aromatic and bolder in flavors, I find that it is actually best to serve it in the burgundy stemware.

A fun experiment that you can try is to be blindfolded, then have someone serve you the same syrah in two different glassware, and you decide which glassware helps to best showcase the syrah.

So in short, it is most definitely acceptable to serve a syrah in a burgundy glass.

Thank you for your question,



I'm having a dinner party in a few weeks.  My menu is:

Stuffed Endive - Goat cheese, orange, honey walnuts, balsamic/honey recuction

Soup - Mushroom and leek with Thyme cream

Venison - Braised with cherries

Creme Brulee - Ginger and Vanilla

Ideally, I would like one wine to suit both the endive and the soup, as well as one wine to serve with the venison.  I have a Quebec ice cider I plan to serve with the creme brulee.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

Thank you.



Your menu is absolutely mouth-watering and scrumptious! Sounds like your dinner guests will be in for quite a treat.

Stuffed Endive - Goat cheese, orange, honey walnuts, balsamic/honey reduction

The suggested pairing for the Stuffed Endive would be a off-dry(semi-sweet) sparkling wine. Either a Prosecco (an Italian sparkling wine) or a Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) would both complement the sweetness in the balsamic/honey reduction and add contrast to the richness of the goat cheese. Plus, the sweetness from the sparklers will balance out the bitterness from the endives, walnuts and goat cheese. The added bonus would be that you can find a good quality Cava or Prosecco for under ten

Soup - Mushroom and leek with Thyme cream

Venison - Braised with cherries

Since a  Pinot Noir has good acidity and is lighter than most reds, this would work great to cut through the creamy opulence of the soup; as well as, highlighting the cherry nuance in the braised cherry venison. If you and your guest would prefer a more full-bodied wine, another great option would be an Italian Barbara. The typical taste of a well-made Barbara is young and cherry-fresh, some may have a bit of spice and a sour-cherry twist taste. Normally, a  Barbara is more round and lush than a Pinot Noir; and, less plump than a Merlot.

I hope these pairing suggestions are helpful for your upcoming dinner party. Feel free to email me should you have any other questions. Would love to hear the results from  your dinner party.

Kind Regards,